The world of professional social networking hasn't changed that much in the last 10 years. LinkedIn for contacts and companies, Twitter for chat and content, then blogs and forums for niches. Whereas the social media sphere as a whole has constantly evolved, we've seen relatively few newcomers to try to topple LinkedIn in the business space.
Summer might not be over just yet, but the change in weather would certainly suggest otherwise. June, July and August have flown by, and as always, there have been loads of new developments in the social media world. I don’t know about you, but I can’t even remember what I ate for breakfast let alone what new social media features and innovations came out, so here’s a quick and handy recap of some of the key highlights from each platform.
LinkedIn, the social network for business professionals, was launched in 2003 making it one of the early forms of social media that's still around today. In internet years it's practically middle-aged and was part of the Web 2.0 movement that saw the rise of Facebook and Twitter and, of course, the rise and fall of MySpace.
The new LinkedIn messaging platform has a clean, crisp design. Perhaps a hint at the new look of LinkedIn? Image via blog.linkedin.com
For a long time, LinkedIn has relied on a messaging system called 'InMail' - however this was always much more like email than messaging, which feels alot more like texting. Now - a little late to the game, LinkedIn has launched a direct messaging option - fast, casual messaging that works a bit like the features so many other social networks launched along time ago.
The new interface for LinkedIn's messages is clean, clear and allows you to attach images, GIFs, emojis and stickers. LinkedIn's new feature is only being rolled out to an initial "10 percent ramp to English global members," meaning that many of you may not see it for a little while. But tweet us your first impressions of it when you get a look in. The rest of the userbase will see the update in the coming weeks, the company said.
No surprises too that LinkedIn may be adding a bit of smart artificial intelligence to it's messaging product someday, as explained in re/code. “We're excited about concepts like intelligent messaging assistants that can help suggest people you should message or provide you with relevant information about that person before you start a conversation,” wrote Mark Hull, LinkedIn’s director of product management, in a blog post. “Or the possibilities with voice and video to make conversations more compelling.”
Reports have just surfaced in the media that LinkedIn is building two new apps that it is hoping to launch in the near future. One will be a messaging app (think WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, and so on) and the second will be a social media version of a company directory (think Yammer, Sharepoint, etc).
Mobile messaging is a particularly hot area, led by Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, as well as startups like Snapchat and Kik. Messenger’s roster of U.S. users is up five-fold over the past two years, far outpacing the 46% growth rate for mobile apps overall in the U.S., according to ComScore.
The new apps would join eight other LinkedIn mobile apps, including ones devoted to recruiters and job seekers. Wednesday, it unveiled an updated version of news app, Pulse. LinkedIn has allowed its core mobile app to retain all its features unlike Facebook, which launched Messenger in 2011 but last year forced users to download it to send private messages over their phone.
LinkedIn has announced that it has rolled out its long form blogging platform to 130 million extra users of the social network. Previously only 100 million of LinkedIn's users could blog, mostly in the US, and the social network has a total of 332 million users, so now just over two-thirds of users will either now or very soon have the ability to write long form blogs.
LinkedIn says in its announcement that long form blogging has really taken off, with one million blog posts having been created by its members in the last year. Business brands and corporates have found blogging on LinkedIn especially useful, as it appeals more widely to the typical business spokesperson, more so than tweeting, per se (this week it was revealed that only 7% of FTSE 100 CEOs tweet).
To write a blog post on Linkedin, you need to click on the grey pencil in LinkedIn's 'share an update' box, which will then transform LinkedIn from the usual look and feel, to this, below:
LinkedIn has published this handy Slideshare to help you make the most of blogging on Linkedin for those who are just getting started:
This week many of the social networks published updates user numbers which are worth taking note of.
Perhaps the most interesting is Facebook, which announced stellar financial results this week breaking all expectations and growing in size and usage, in particular on mobile. The social network now boasts 1bn active users just on mobiles. This dwarfs all other social networks and shows that there is a lot of growth left in the old dog yet.
Elsewhere, LinkedIn announced that it has reached 300m users, one third of them being in the US. Also WhatsApp announced that it has hit 500m active users, that's 100 million more than four months ago. Quite staggering. Remember WhatsApp is owned by Facebook, as is Instagram, which also has 200m users.
For a full update on all the big social media user numbers, do subscribe to the Battenhall Monthly, where publish updates on the first of the month with some in depth analysis on the changes that have taken place.
LinkedIn has announced hitting a major milestone this morning - the 15 million active user mark in the UK. The professionals' social network of choice announced it with a blog post containing an infographic that breaks down the site's UK user demographics. London is by far the biggest city, 10x bigger than any other, and as the above graph shows, the growth of LinkedIn has been steady, not stratospheric.
In comparison, Twitter's last UK user numbers update was also 15 million (as of Sep 2013) and Facebook 24 million (Aug 2013).
For more on LinkedIn's users, their full infographic is below, and more info is on their blog post.